Christmas stress - collective groan

I have thought about writing this article for weeks but I have refrained from doing so as it just seemed to enhance my argument; the quandary of whether or not to open the great festive debate.

This time of year can be one of the hardest for a lot of us to cope with - or maybe "survive" (just) is a more accurate description. It is stress inducing in so many ways; the finances of presents, food and drink; the excesses too; or the worry about family or friends getting together over the holidays – will there be enough to eat? Will they get on? How will I cope?

Plus, there is the isolation that it brings for so many people; it’s a time when the media and people around us are extolling the virtues of family, friends and loved ones, but what if you don’t have this circle of people around you? Or it’s too difficult to even contemplate being happy?

It would be great to think that, as a caring society, we’d postpone Christmas advertising and decorations until the beginning of December...but the consumer driven world we live in won’t ever allow that. What are the alternatives?

Again, I’m kicking myself for using this comparison, but it does seem to fit. There are those people we all know (and maybe envy a bit) who plan well ahead for Christmas and the New Year. So can we plan ahead for our own mental well-being and, on a broader view, consider others as well? Christmas comes along every year, and yet we often leave it until it’s too late to deal with “sensibly”. By “sensibly” I mean in a sense that we can reduce the fears, concerns and worries it always presents us.

Planning ahead and getting some counselling support before the period of Christmas and New Year hits (there are very few support networks available during this time) would be a great advantage. In reality this is true of all matters that concern us, but Christmas is the one that we know is coming, so prepare ahead. There’s still time now.

If you know someone that might be spending Christmas and the New Year alone or finds the period difficult, maybe just offer them a friendly listening ear at least.

Finally; I’m not anti-Christmas or a grumpy old man. I just believe that our own mental well-being is important and should be the number one present for all on our Santa lists this and every year...however, in my book it’s still too early for festive felicitations!

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